What is a lava tube?

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Episode Number: 130

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Location Taken: US

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Hello and welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Dane Klima.

Don't forget about our Be a CoreCast Host for a Day Contest. You could win a chance to host your very own episode of CoreCast. Send us your name and e-mail address to corecast@usgs.gov to enter! The randomly chosen and lucky winner will get to interview a scientist or talk about cool science topics. The contest ends Friday, September 26, 2008.

 

Now back to CoreFacts. Today's question is about Lava Tube.

What is a lava tube?

During long-lived eruptions, lava flows tend to become "channeled" into a few main streams. Overflows of lava from these streams solidify quickly and plaster on to the channel walls, building natural levees that allow the level of the lava to be raised. Lava streams that flow steadily in a confined channel for many hours to days may develop a solid crust or roof and thus change gradually into streams within lava tubes. Because the walls and roofs of such tubes are good thermal insulators, lava flowing through them can remain hot and fluid much longer than surface flows.

And now you know. Join us every week for a new CoreFact. If you're looking for more in-depth science coverage, please check out the USGS CoreCast at usgs.gov/corecast. To have your own question potentially featured on the air, send it to corefacts@usgs.gov or leave a voicemail with us at 703-648-5600; however do remember that this may be a long distance charge.

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